Note: If you read very far in this set of reviews, each book will spoil the one before it. Not that the titles don't give away a lot of the plot anyway, but, you were warned.
I would have gobbled these books up as a teenager. As it is, I've been flying through these. I picked up the first two books at the library book sale after recognizing the author's name. (Code Orange, What Child is This?) It begins with sixteen year old Janie seeing a face on the milk carton of a missing three year old, and realizing it is her. How could her parents be kidnappers? Who are her parents? She spends this book dealing with the idea of who she really is, and how to confront her parents, which she really does not want to do, because she has a pretty sweet life.
A little teenage angsty, but of course it is!
Janie deals with the fall out of the discovery and, under court order, goes to live with her original family. Cooney does a great job of looking into the ramifications of this type of dramatic kidnapping stories. There are not always happy endings, for any one involved. Janie goes from being Jane Johnson, only child in Connecticut to being Jennie Spring, one of five children in New Jersey. Who are her parents? Who is she?
Janie is getting her life back in order, arranging both her families into her concept of herself without feeling like she is hurting either one. The only problem is her perfect boyfriend, Reeve is going off to college. Poor Reeve, the underachieving, low esteem boy next door. He gets a gig right away at his Boston university hosting a radio show. And the only thing he can think to talk about on the air is the Janie ordeal. He is able to give the inside story and rationalizes that Janie will never hear the show. Yeah, this won't be good for anyone.
The finale. Lots of what if? how come? Eh, the ending was only okay. I'm glad I didn't have to wait the ten years as a teenager for the final book to come out. It promised so much more action than was delivered, when Janie, Reeve, and little brother Brian fly out to visit the eldest brother Stephen in Boulder, Colorado. But really, they think they are on the trail of Hannah the original kidnapper and what would happen if they met her? At least everyone is growing up, and learning about forgiveness and moving on. And family.